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Harlem police chief here to stay

Posted: August 21, 2013 - 12:11am
Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper, left, gives Harlem Police Department Chief Gary Jones the oath of office after he was hired on permanently, as opposed to interim, at Monday's monthly meeting.   Special Photo
Special Photo
Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper, left, gives Harlem Police Department Chief Gary Jones the oath of office after he was hired on permanently, as opposed to interim, at Monday's monthly meeting.

Harlem officials removed the word “interim” from Harlem Police Department Chief Gary Jones’ title Monday.

The City Council hired the former Sardis police chief as interim director in late April to fill the position vacated by David Sward in mid-April.

Jones wanted the job permanently and city leaders waited 90 days before deciding whether to keep Jones or search for another permanent chief.

“We just feel like the department is heading in the right direction and things appear to be operating very smoothly there,” City Manager Jason Rizner said. “We appreciate the good work he has done, the involvement in the community.

“We look forward to a lot of good things from him.”

Jones, who started his law enforcement career in Harlem in the mid-1980s, has been busy since he took over the department on April 23. He’s started numerous programs and implemented many changes including the way officers are promoted, the creation of a citizens advisory board, giving out free gun locks and holding a women’s self-defense class.

He’s also earned several grants for the department including ones to pay for new body armor for officers and body cameras.

“I felt like I was going to do a good enough job to stay,” Jones said. “My plan is to stay and retire here.”

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